Conversations with Jake: Home 6 Months

Jake has his pre-op appt. today. His surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday. I didn't post this yesterday, as I really wanted to post about Helen. 

Jake's been almost home for 6 months. We've known him for 6 months yesterday.  It is like night and day. No more biting, no more spitting on the floor, no more peeing absolutely everywhere, no more crying and wailing for those he left behind, no more running away, no more anger.

He is a completely different child, and yet, still has incredibly huge personality. He captures your heart right away. He loves to hug and rub ears. He loves to run and play. His Foster mom wasn't kidding when she wrote how he is "very active".  He's loud. Very.Very loud. He's as funny as anything. 

He still eats large amounts of food in one sitting and likes to know if there's still more. He was such an incredibly difficult child in China. Yet, without fear over-taking him, he is the sweetest! He has an amazing English vocabulary. 

Here is Jake's interview being with us for 6 months. 

He's come a long way.
And so have we. 



"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. " ~Anonymous~

I have seen this quote on many a blog  and listserv post lately. It has me thinking. I'm sure you smell the smoke now! Hehehe! It just has such truth to it and sheds light in many different areas. 

I'm sure those that are reading and have adopted before know that you run into fabulous, genuine, caring people who are in your life and they still really don't get the whole adoption thing. Sometimes, you can tell they have the thought, "You're done. You've adopted. How nice, but why still be involved with everything adoption?".  

Perhaps you attend a church that is a great church but does nothing in the way of even mentioning "Orphan Sunday" (which is coming in November).  Our church doesn't do anything for it either. 

Well, the reason is simply this quote:

"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. " ~Anonymous~

We need to help spread the word about a beautiful girl in China who needs a family. Ideally she needs paper ready family as her time runs out by January. Fees have been waived significantly to try to help out. If you already have your referral and would consider bringing home two children, you can still have the paperwork processed for her. Here is what is said about sweet Helen from Ann:

Beautiful Helen is going to age out in January.  There is not much time to help this sweet young girl who was entered the orphanage in April of THIS year!!!  Oh my heart!   From all accounts, despite this, she is sweet and smart and helpful and a master at Karate!  According to her file, "she is extroverted, clever and lovely."  She is the math representative, is good in writing and is interested in art.  She is also the "plugger and minister of the press department."  Don't know what that is but it sure does sound good!  Seriously though, you must read this precious child's file.  She impressed everyone at Madison's camp and they are longing to find her a family!  It will be hard as you would need to have a complete HS or one that is almost complete and you would have to work hard to get it all done in time.  However, Diana posted this about Helen's adoption:

MAA is offering a Hope grant to waive all fees for this child if a family comes forward who can adopt her in time. MAA is also willing to transfer the file for any family who is LID with another agency who we feel will be a good fit.

Qingdao has also offered to waive this child's orphanage donation!!!

Please contact me asap if you are interested in this child. Please also help spread the word about this gorgeous child.

Thank you so much!

If you know of  a family that is about paper ready, please pass the word about Helen. She needs a family ASAP. She is aging out in January and obviously doesn't have much time to find a family.  From what is written about her, she is outgoing, sweet, speaks some English, does well in school. Fees have been reduced by the agency as well as the orphanage fees. 


Oh Those Darn Questions!

Innocent, genuine questions, I don't mind. Let's get this straight. If someone is genuinely interested in adopting and are trying to find out more, well, then I'm your girl. I will invite you over for coffee and show you how to go about adopting. I will answer any and all questions you may have. I email you information until you tell me to stop because you are so overwhelmed. I will advocate for adoption in any way. However,  stupid questions from stupid people, I do mind.

Are they adopted? "Yum, I think so. I have three and can't remember which ones I gave birth to". Or, my favorite response is, "One is homemade and two are take out". 

Are they real brothers? "Yes."

Do they have the same mother? "I am their mother".

Who are their real parents? "My husband and I are".

Where did you get that kid? He's so cool he must have cost a fortune! 
Unfortunately this came from someone we know who put his foot in his mouth. Okay, so the guy doesn't think at all before his mouth starts rambling. I literally sat with my jaw on the ground. Yup, speechless. No witty  I'm mean, really? Couldn't wrap my head around it. He paid for it in the end. His family was angry with him and lots of apologizes cam our way!

Do you know anything at all about their past? "That is their story to tell". 

Why didn't you adopt from the States? I realize this a valid quest. But let's remember, if God had wanted us to adopt from the States, He would have certainly led us in that direction. End of story. It is only when people want to argue the point that I have some issues with. 

Does he have good teeth? Sadly, I didn't make this one up. Someone literally let that fall out of his redneck mouth when Grant was little and I almost pounced on the blithering idiot. But before I could, Eric had handled the situation and practically carried me out of the restaurant before I made a very ugly seen. I may have let "He's not a horse" slip out. I'll tell ya, that was the nicest thing coming to mind. 

Where are they from? Always answer this one clearly and with pride. Yes, it sounds like they are aliens with the way the question always gets worded. But if you proudly say, "Their birth countries are Kazakhstan and China", then hopefully the boys will understand how proud of them we are. 

"Just watch out, because you'll end up getting pregnant since you're adopting!"  Guaranteed that every parent who has adopted has gotten this one. 
Seriously, that would not be a good thing! I want my boys with Asian eyes and I certainly can't produce that!

Thankfully, these comments do not happen daily or even weekly. They are sporadic. Families that are mixed ethnically are becoming more and more common. My only concern with the questions is when the boys hear. I know it is inevitable that they will see themselves as different. But at this point, neither one of them do. Grant thinks in very factual terms.  "I have Asian eyes and I was born in Kazakhstan. Mom and Dad came and brought me home".  So what about you adoptive parents  out there? What dumb questions have you had over the years and how did you handle it?


Chinese Cooking 101

So I made my first attempt at moon cakes which were by no means the fancy, pretty ones
As I mentioned, Ann from Cornbread and Chopsticks gave me the idea and the dough recipe. 

Here is the pre-baked result:

And the finished product. Not that pretty, but I really need to buy a pastry brush for the egg yolk. 
We used red bean paste for some and apple and grape jelly for the others.

Ally and Jake enjoyed the red bean paste ones the most. They didn't last long. Jake actually just enjoyed the red bean paste itself. He was digging it out with his finger leaving the cake part behind.

On to the Chinese Tea eggs which simmered for at least three hours!
I used the recipe found here

These were regular white eggs. After they cook awhile in the water, soy, cinnamon, and a smidge of sugar, you crack them a bit to get a marbling effect. 

Jake saw these an became SOOOOO excited! 

Yup! They were a big hit. Never thought I'd see the day when I'd spend three hours cooking eggs, but from the look on his face, I think it's safe to say I'll be doing them again. 


Chinese Mommy and Chinese Daddy

I really don't even remember how we got on the topic, but Jake was talking about his house in China. He is full of stories, and I just wish I had a recorder on him because they occur daily. I'll be so sad when he forgets these things about his life prior to us. Even the littlest things are important. It has been over 5 months since he has been home and his Chinese mommy and Chinese daddy, as he now calls them, are still regular and daily topics of conversation. 

He mentioned that the Ayi's came and took him on a bus one time. He said it took them a very long time to get where they were going and that they were bringing him to us. He also has said that his Chinese mommy did not have a refrigerator. And tells us how Chinese mommy cut the chicken's throat to cook for dinner. He told me that he did not have a toilet. I asked him where he went potty, and he said outside the house. I asked him if he had a potty somewhere to go, well, you know, no. 2. Nope, he says he did not. In talking with someone on a Yinchuan listserv who has visited some of the rural foster homes, she says that it is highly probable that this is true. He said they would have an area outside to go or a small outhouse type facility that others would use too. From the pictures, the foster family's home does look like a one room living area with a kang for sleeping and a small kitchen. I'd just love to have seen it and met them in person so I could know more about Jake's past experiences and life. For now, I'll just have to write out what he says, as someday, he won't remember much of it at all.

I made Chinese Tea eggs and mooncakes today. Will post my results later! 


Love Notes and other Yummy Things

 Some sweet kid in this house left love notes for me after he got home from school today. He didn't broadcast that he made me something. Just placed his note for me on the frig and put the card on the counter for me to find. Sweet! Too bad I found it AFTER I got all over his case for not getting ready for soccer and cleaning up like I asked! 

Ahhhh, be still my heart!

Ally had her Thursday school classes today which meant it was a Jake and Mommy day. We visited the tea store in the mall and had freebies of Chinese tea. YUM! Then ate chicken noodle soup from Chick-fil-a (he prefers it over fries and nuggets- YES!). Headed to the book store to wander around and play, and then over to the Chinese market to pick out candy for Jie Jie and Goo goo, of course! Jake loves picking Chinese candy out and passing it out to share with his brother and sister. 

These are our finds for today minus the chopsticks we bought for Grammy Ni-Ni's house.  Yes, I bought red bean paste in hopes of making moon cakes tomorrow. Not sure if I'll get to it, but trying to take a cue from Annie at Cornbread and Chopsticks! Has anyone tried a mooncake with the red bean paste that didn't taste like sawdust? Ann switched hers out with grape jelly which I'm sure I'll do to some of them. 

Not too sure about these little gems, but Jake was excited about them. It did deter him from the dried squid though. 

There is one woman at the Chinese market that speaks a little English, but she frequently isn't there. This week, the usual people were there, but there were several younger teens there who did not speak any English at all which is the norm for this little grocery. The one clerk always attempts to speak Mandarin to Jake and he has only spoken back to her in English. Today, she attempted again, but, of course, he turned away from her. Funny since he is such a personable kid. She gave that Chinese cluck or "tsk tsk" with her tongue and said "No Chinese!" to me. Then she kept clucking away talking to the teens, and from what I gather talking about Jake's lack of Chinese. Sheesh, I wish he wasn't losing it either. 


Must Not Have Gotten the Memo!

What do you do when you gulp down dinner,  head to soccer practice with all three in tow and no one else shows up for practice AND dad is coming home late?

To dull the disappointment, you stop and grab some of these:

(Had pictures of Allyson, but she has her mouth WIDE open in all of them. She would kill me if I posted them. )

Then, you turn up some Aretha and Bob Seeger and....

Ally wouldn't dance on camera, but, I assure you, she has some moves of her own. The girl had the robot, the sprinkler, the worm, and the swim to name a few! Yes, folks, she'll dance; just not on camera!


Conversations with Jake

Our Conversation the other day in the car:

Jake: 'member mom? 'member? Daddy sit here (pointing to back seat)? I sit here (pointing to the front driver's seat)?

Me: Uhhh...when?

Jake: 'member, mom, China? I drive air-o-plane to my house! I drived-da-da-air-o-plane from China!

Somehow he's remembering that flight way differently than I do. And, yet, he can tell you exactly how many "air-o-planes" he traveled with "new mommy and daddy" to get here! 


Finally, another post

Yeesh! It's been way too long, but another post is up on


Overly Affectionate and other Behaviors of Adopted Children

 This kid? Lives with a soccer ball attached to his foot.

This kid? Not so much!

But he does crack me up! Remember our "big win" in Ocean City? Well, the boys still use Mr. Gorilla for their UFC matches. He's fun to pounce on and, evidently, fun to sleep with too! Jake said he needed to rub ears with him.

Speaking of Jake, he loves his family with all his heart I do believe. The attachment and bonding with immediate and other family members seems appropriate and on the right track. He always makes great eye contact, loves one on one play, loves to cuddle and be held. However, he makes himself overly familiar with strangers and other people he does not know that well. I've mentioned this before, but it has continued. I know that being overly affectionate and attention seeking by being overly cute is a behavior listed for post institutionalized kids.  He asked me if he could kiss his soccer coach. It was the second practice. It was a male coach who Jake likes to hold his hand and meander around the field. Finally, the coach said no hand holding in soccer; you've got to run. Good! However, he has a female coach as well and planted 2 kisses on her cheek and one attempt to splatter her with one on her lips. Of course, it's not just coaches. This is just one example as I could go on and on since it happens daily. 

 It's got me a bit uptight. Is this behavior going to go away on it's own? I know many do. We've talked about when it is appropriate to hug or kiss someone; talked about boundaries as much as I can explain it to a 4 yr old who has just learned English.  You'd think all those many, many hours of adoption attachment training we have taken over two adoptions would start to kick in. Looks like I'll be looking some things up and re-reading bonding and attachment in older kids....again. 

Remember the head scratching thing? He scratched so badly that he had sores. That has subsided significantly. We only notice him doing it if he is upset or frustrated now. Nice to be able to put an emotion with the behavior now. At least it helps us fix the situation. The teeth grinding is getting better too. I'm noticing it a lot less. But the overly touchy feely thing has to go. Really. It has to go! Where are all those licensed adoption attachment specialists reading my blog? Okay, so maybe there aren't any. Where is my magic wand? 


Anyone Having Trouble?

Anyone else having trouble watching the you tube video of Jake's Adoption Story?? 

Please leave a comment if you are having difficulties. Thanks!


It's Here.....Jake's Story

I made a DVD for Grant's adoption story and just finished Jake's. It was 30 min. long but had to cut it down to under ten minutes to You Tube it. I think it's important to have for the boys. Hopefully it will be something they can keep long after I'm gone. Something to remind them of how God brought them specifically to our family as it's all in His design. I also think it's important to share with others who are considering any adoption (infant, special needs, older child) as a way of support and encouragement. 

Ally did a great job on the voice overs for me! 
Hope you all enjoy it! You can watch it at Jake's Adoption Story


Wordless Wednesday: Let Sleeping Kids Lie


Sunday Matinee

And I actually got a mini-nap in too!



First day of all three kids playing soccer. Whew! I carry a.lot.of.stuff now! Ally's game was first. She plays soccer so she can do this:

Her team won and she played very well! She is pretty small compared to the other girls and felt intimidated a bit before. But she's fast and dribbled all around those girls. 

Told ya they were big! She plays on a U12 team now and uses a full size soccer field. After the game, she hitched a ride to spend time with a friend. My, she's growing up fast!

 Jake's turn next. His kinder kicker game was.....interesting. But they sure were cute!

 There was a lot of yawning and scratching going on.

 Nice form!

 Lots of encouragement from Daddy!

Ya see the tall girl on Jake's team? I think it's time for a birth certificate check!
She scored THREE goals.......for the other team! HA! Very Cute!

 Then there was the Chinese/Kazakh squat ON THE FIELD and the rolling around the grass not paying attention DURING THE GAME! 

And when he decided he was done and thought he hadn't gotten the ball enough, the tears flowed and daddy comforted. He decided he was "ready to go home"

Hate it when he cries. It is the saddest face ever!

We finished with hot shot's turn. He was itching to play. It's all about playing your heart out for him. 

Just had to throw this one in here. Thought it was great! Omi and Grandpop came up to watch the games. Super helpful to have extra hands to carry all the stuff too. Eric coaches or assistant coaches way too many teams!

Hate to brag, but my kid is good. Like three goals good. He's got some fancy footwork too! I did notice that he likes to coach the kids on the team too. "You pass here; don't kick so far to the side; pass up the middle; use your left" type stuff. Gotta talk to him about that. I'd like to think he just has amazing leadership skills!

Never intimidated by size! Seriously, what are they feeding these kids to make them so tall? 



Thankful Thursday

 My baby was only three here and off to preschool he went. I decided it was for the best when he was reading all of the words I wrote in the driveway with sidewalk chalk! Check that baby face out! Pure squishiness!

Same pose outside the school

 Wow! What a different kid this one is! To say he keeps us on our toes is an understatement. He's so stinkin' enthralled with Eric's razor that he now gets up with Eric and "shaves". He uses a handheld flosser and lathers up. So far it has at least stopped him from rummaging around to get the real one.

I don't even think I took the same pics of Allyson with a digital, but I know I have them printed off in a photoalbum/scrapbook. I'm going to have to rummage around soon to try to find them (with all of my free time and all). 


Shea Shou....Jake's turn

Jake went to his morning preschool class for the first time today and boy was he ready! He was SO excited that he could hardly wait. He was up early with Eric this morning and asked me 952 times if we were going yet. As soon as we got there, he barely looked over at me to say, "Goodbye, Mommy!". I think he was wondering why in the heck the other kids were crying!

Here's your warning: I took a bunch of pics of Mr. GQ who loves to pose for the camera.

I know he's mine and all so I think he is just the coolest little guy. BUT he couldn't possibly get any cuter!

I have this same picture taken in front of the school for all three kids now.

Surprise, surprise. He headed right for the tools......

and cutting tools!

After we ate lunch today, Allyson and I sat down to fold laundry and watch "Drive Thru History". Jake crawled up on me and became very still. I was thinking that he sure must be a history buff because he was so quiet. Ally took the pic for me. Evidently, history isn't his thing. Do you think it bored him?

(Please pardon my lack of a smile, lack of makeup, and lack of posture! No supersize on this shot. No way!)

P.S. to anyone who has used iMovie before and/or is all knowledgable about the Macs...can you tell me why my videos in my iMovie keep freezing? The music continues and it only happens with the videos not the still photographs. I have to restart the computer each time and that doesn't always work. C'mon Mac geniuses. I know you're out there.


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